By: Heather Rhoades
One very fun project that you can do with children is to show them how an avocado will grow from a pit. Because avocado pits are so large, they are easy for even the youngest child to handle. Sprouting avocado pits is an excellent way to show children how plants grow from seeds.
What you will need for this avocado seed growing project:
Remove the avocado pits from the center of the avocados. Have the children wash the avocado pits so that none of the meat from the avocado fruit remains on the seed.
Once the avocado pits are clean, take a look at the avocado seed. You will notice that it is almost tear shaped. The narrower top of the seed is where the stem and leaves will grow. The more broad end of the seed is where the roots will grow. With the broad end of the avocado pits pointing down, stick several toothpicks around the center of each avocado seed.
Next, place the avocado seed, broad end down, in the glass of water. Sprouting avocado pits in glasses of water will allow the children to see how an avocado tree will grow from a pit. The toothpicks will make it so that only the bottom one third to one half of the avocado pits will be in the water.
Place the avocado pits in their glasses in a location where they will get plenty of sun. Be sure to keep the water at a constant level. Watch for sprouting avocado pits. Eventually, you will see an avocado seed growing roots.
Not all of the avocado pits will develop roots, but at least a third of them should. This is an excellent opportunity to explain that the reason that plants produce so many fruits (with seeds) is because not all of the seeds are guaranteed to grow.
Once an avocado seed is growing roots, wait until the roots are 2-3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm.) long and then transfer the sprouting avocado pits to a pot with soil in it. You may or may not see the avocado seed growing the stem and leaves from the top at this time.
Continue to water the growing avocado pits and they will continue to grow. Avocados make excellent houseplants.
Showing children how to how to root an avocado seed is a great way for a child to become visually aware of the life cycle of a plant. Plus, children will find it fun and magical to see how an avocado will grow from a pit.
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Sprouting avocado (Persea americana, USDA zones 10 through 12) seeds by suspending them in water with toothpicks speeds seed germination. Roots develop first, followed by a sprout that grows upward to form the stalk and foliage of the plant. Generally grown inside the home as a houseplant during the winter and summered outside in pots, avocado plants can be grown in the soil in areas where temperatures remain above freezing during the winter. However, avocado trees grown from seed do not produce fruit true to the parent plant and may not produce avocados until they're 13 or more years old, according to the University of California. For this reason, avocado plants are typically grown as novelty houseplants.
To plant sprouted avocado seeds in the soil in a frost-free area, dig a hole in prepared soil to the depth of the root system and approximately twice a wide. Ease the plant into the hole so the roots spread out in the soil. Fill in around the roots with fresh soil and firm down with your hands to secure the avocado plant.
Observe the avocado seed carefully. When it splits and the roots appear, the Missouri Botanical Garden notes that it's is time to transplant your avocado seed to a plant pot.
Fill a 6- to 8-inch pot half full with a mixture of one part potting soil or garden loam, one part perlite or vermiculite and one part peat moss. This makes a lightweight soil that allows for good aeration and promotes adequate drainage. Garden loam or potting soil alone compacts easily with repeated watering, making it unsuitable for a growing medium in containers.
Position the avocado seed so that the roots spread out in the soil and the top of the seed rests flush with the top of the soil.
Fill in around the roots with potting medium and firm down the soil gently with your hands, using care not to injure the roots. This removes air pockets in the soil and secures the avocado plant.
Water thoroughly until water runs freely through the bottom of the pot. Keep soil moist, but not soggy, by watering once or twice a week when the soil dries to the touch.
Place your avocado plant in bright light from an eastern or western window.
Fertilize once a month with houseplant fertilizer.
All you need to create your own avocado tree houseplant is a few toothpicks and a jar of water. Here’s how you can turn avocado pits into plants:
Save the avocado pit from an existing fruit, making sure not to break or cut it as you carefully remove it. You can soak the pit in water for a few minutes before scrubbing off the remaining avocado fruit, just don’t remove the brown skin covering the seed. Allow it to dry in a warm place overnight.
Figure out which side of the pit is considered up and down. While some avocado pits are oblong in shape, most others are shaped more like a sphere. Regardless of the shape, all pits have a top and bottom that determine where the roots and sprout will grow.
Look for the end that’s slightly pointier to locate the top. The bottom is slightly flatter. The root end (bottom) needs to go into the water for the plant to sprout, so this step is very important.
Once the pit is dry, insert 3-4 toothpicks around the pit’s mid-region. Then suspend it with the broad end down above the drinking glass or jar of water. Inserting the toothpicks at a slightly downward angle may help keep the seed in place so that the base rests in the water. Add just enough water for the bottom third of the seed to be fully submerged.
Put the jar in a warm, sunny location without direct sunlight. Make sure to change the water every few days so it doesn’t get murky. While some guides suggest you change the water daily, I’ve found that switching the water every 5 days to once per week works well. Furthermore, a clear glass makes it easier to see when the water needs to be changed.
Roots should sprout in 2-6 weeks. You’ll notice the pit will dry out and crack, and then the brown skin will slough off. After that, taproots will emerge from the bottom. Keep these taproots submerged in water at all times.
Once the sprout grows to around 6-inches tall (which takes around 8 weeks), cut the plant back to 3-inches. This will encourage the plant’s roots to grow.
The stem will grow out once more, allowing the plant to reach 6-inches-tall again. Then you can plant the pit into a 10-inch pot that’s filled with rich potting soil. Leave the top half of the seed exposed for the best results and find a sunny windowsill for your new plant.
A natural, terracotta pot is perfect for avocado trees, as the porous clay material allows for easy air and moisture flow to the soil. Make sure the container offers proper drainage holes as well.
Children love getting their hands dirty and learning through hands-on activities. Sprouting an avocado seed is a great homeschool or classroom project to teach students about germination. The process is simple:
Using three or four toothpicks, evenly spaced, create a sort of avocado seed stand a bit towards the bottom of the seed. This will be used to hold the seed, the bottom partially suspended in water and the top high and dry. Then, fill a glass with water and position the skewered avocado over the top of it. A clear glass is best so that the kids can see when the root begins to form. Put it on a shady windowsill where it’s easy to keep an eye on.
I love this method because it is so much fun to watch beautiful avocado trees growing from seeds in jars of water! If you just want some pretty indoor plants to decorate your home, you will really enjoy this technique.
A big thank you to Brad on YouTube for the great video tutorial!
First, let’s look at a better alternative on how to sprout an avocado seed without toothpicks. The problem is actually not the toothpicks, but the timing!
Clean the avocado seeds and peel off as much of the skin as possible. This reduces the chance of the seeds molding while germinating.
Wrap the seeds loosely in damp paper towel, and place them in a plastic bag or a container with lid.
Check on the pits once a week. If the paper towel smells or look slimy, wash the seeds, the plastic bag or container , and change to a clean piece of paper towel.
Once the avocado seeds crack, look for tiny white roots that sprout from the bottom of each seed, and be careful not to damage the roots. When the roots grow and protrude beyond the bottom of the seeds, it’s time to start growing them in water.
This stage can take 1-2 months. It’s a good idea to start with more seeds than you need, and just keep the faster sprouting ones, because some seeds take much longer time to sprout, for no reason! You can also plant the cracked or sprouted avocado seeds in soil at this stage, like mentioned in previous method.
At this point, you can actually use tooth picks or something more unique! There are avocado tree growing kits you can get on Amazon here. You can also use recycled plastic water bottles to make some!
Cut off the top portion of a plastic water bottle without the lid, and place it on top of a glass jar as shown. Put a sprouted avocado seed inside this half sphere with roots pointing down. Add water until the bottom half of the seed is submerged in water.
Always eep the roots submerged in water as it grows. After a couple more weeks, stems and leaves will start growing out of the avocado seed.
Here are some of our avocado seedlings growing in water at different stages. All we do is replenishing the water once a week, and add a drop of all purpose liquid fertilizer once a month.
The water stays clean and clear usually. If you occasionally see signs of algae, clean the jar and change water.
The only difference when you grow avocado indoors in soil vs in water is that avocado plants growing in jars of water need to be away from direct sun, because algae can grow in water exposed to sunlight.
Love the jungle style? You will love this tutorial on our 18 favorite indoor plants and care tips!
Our 18 favorite indoor plants and care tips!
Many people leave the seed in the middle of a bowl of guacamole, believing it will keep it bright green. This has been shown to be a myth.
As oxidization is the culprit behind brown guacamole, anything that reduces the surface area exposed to air will prevent browning. This is why guacamole with a pit in it will be greener around the seed than at the edges of the bowl. It’s not the pit that’s doing it, though: You could substitute the seed with any other object like a boiled egg, sliced vegetables, or a piece of bread for the same effect. If you really want to reduce oxidization, cover the whole thing with wax paper so that the paper is pressed against the surface of the guacamole.
However, if you think adding a pit to a bowl of guacamole looks nice, go for it! That way when you have guests, you can use the opportunity to educate them about oxidization. What a great conversation starter!
Source: toughnickle, Healthline, foodfeatures